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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 May 10;91(10):4485-8.

Successful hematopoietic reconstitution with transplantation of erythrocyte-depleted allogeneic human umbilical cord blood cells in a child with leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Schneider Children's Hospital of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, NY.


Cord blood, a potent source of hematopoietic stem cells, has been shown to successfully reconstitute hematopoiesis following allogeneic transplantation in a variety of disorders. A major drawback of cord blood has been the risk of transfusion reactions in ABO blood group incompatibility and drastic reduction in the stem cell pool if the cord blood is manipulated to remove red cells prior to cryopreservation or after thawing. This report describes an erythrocyte depletion method employing 3% gelatin-induced erythrocyte sedimentation for the selective removal of red cells from cord blood. The red cell-depleted fraction was shown to be enriched in progenitor cells and in cells secreting hematopoietic cytokines interleukin 3, granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and interleukin 6; a major source for cytokines was from cord T cells. This preparative technique was employed to separate out red cells from cord blood of an infant delivered by cesarean section who had an 8-year-old sibling with leukemia. Histocompatibility testing of cord cells revealed complete matching with the patient. A cord cell transplant of cryopreserved and thawed cells consisting of 4 x 10(7) nucleated cells per kg was administered to the patient following myeloablative chemotherapy. The patient's quick hematologic recovery and 9-month disease-free period to date suggest that 3% gelatin separation of erythrocytes is a simple method that can be successfully used for transplanting cord cells for malignant/nonmalignant diseases.

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